As the FSC is considering how it should engage with potential future forest carbon trading schemes – and will no doubt be under pressure from the certification bodies, such as SGS and Rainforest Alliance, to move into this potentially lucrative market – it should take heed of recent developments concerning the United Nations scheme to certify international carbon credits.
The Times reports that “The legitimacy of the $100 billion (£60 billion) carbon-trading market has been called into question after the world’s largest auditor of clean-energy projects was suspended by United Nations inspectors. SGS UK had its accreditation suspended last week after it was unable to prove its staff had properly vetted projects that were then approved for the carbon-trading scheme, or even that they were qualified to do so.” The full story is available here.
This will sound familiar to FSC-Watchers, a number of whom have called for the removel of the FSC accreditation of the Johannesburg-based SGS forestry certification subsidiary, SGS-Qualifor, for failing to properly vet companies for FSC certification.
Some forestry carbon credits for the voluntary carbon markets are already claimed to be sustainable on the basis of being FSC certified. The Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) scheme now accepts FSC certification as a guarantee that forestry carbon projects are environmentally acceptable. So whilst the UN has taken action to stop dodgy carbon credits from being certified by SGS, dodgy forest carbon projects from the same certification company could still be entering into voluntary carbon markets, thanks to the FSC.